Keep On Running!
By Stacee Helton
June 25, 2023
It’s been a busy couple of weeks! In my last post, we were on our way to Oklahoma, for our college reunion. We had a great time! We laughed, we cried, we stayed up later than usual, we ate good food, we shared memories, sang songs, and hugged lots of necks. I’m getting tears in my eyes as I type this, just thinking about the wonderful talks we shared and the fun of being together again. I had attended a yearly campmeeting in Indiana since I was a teenager, and often saw many of these friends there each year after our college graduation. We pushed our babies around in strollers, sang in mass choirs, attended great services, and talked about life. Those yearly camp meetings in Indiana have long since ended, and now regional and national conferences in various cities have taken their place. It’s rare that we get to attend these conferences now, because they are usually scheduled at the same time as the Tour de Corn (which was this past weekend).
Yep… you read that correctly! The “Tour de Corn'' is an annual bike ride in our little town of East Prairie, MO and it’s a really big deal around here. Each year, we have close to 1000 bicycle riders in town, taking off to ride a 15, 30, 60, or 100 mile ride… with amazing rest stops along the way. There’s a whole Sweet Corn Festival happening on the same weekend, with many vendors set up downtown, and live music. The community comes out in a big way to pull off an amazing weekend. Our youth group holds a spaghetti dinner fundraiser each year for Tour de Corn, where we serve many, many bicyclists and townspeople. It’s a long, hot day but our favorite crazy teenagers are learning what it means to serve, and to work hard to earn funds to attend camps and conventions.
During the Sweetcorn Festival, there is also a 5K run, which my husband has participated in, twice. This year, he beat his time from last year by 3 minutes, finishing in 34 minutes. In honor of Father’s Day last weekend, I just want to say that I’m incredibly proud of him. He has always been the hardest-working person I know, and his drive and determination come in second only to his amazing heart for servanthood. He is an inspiration to many, including myself. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll find me running in a 5K. In fact, my bad knees will keep me cheering for him at the finish line. But I am most definitely a runner, and so are you.
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”. We are all runners in this race, trying to stay the course, and finish well. May we all be able to say the same as Paul, when he writes in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. He is looking forward to his eternal reward, as should we. All of this talk about running has me singing a very old-school song by Twila Paris called “Runner”. I’ll attach it for you, in case you are in the mood to hear that groovy synthesizer sound from the 80’s! https://youtu.be/tvZx-Kx8iXo
Before I close, I need to tell you about the fun week we had, just after we returned home from Oklahoma. We had the opportunity to keep our grandpuppy, Teddy, for an entire week, while our daughter and son-in-law were on vacation! This was definitely a new experience for me, and we had such a fun time with my little buddy. I called him my shadow, and he sure was! You might remember from an earlier post that this was something that would have never happened a couple of years ago. Never never, no not ever. All I can say is that God has helped me to heal from many things over the years, but especially my lifelong fear of dogs, and I’m so very thankful. Our lives are truly a race that we all run. And if we will allow Him, He will help us to grow and change with every turn, every stop and start, and yes… even with every unexpected detour. Don’t give up! Keep on running! Fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith!